Daily News: Emineke and Yilmaz updates plus other names in the frame

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Manager on Monday – West Ham Official Site

Reflecting on Alex Song’s man-of-the-match performance against Manchester City, manager Slaven Bilic is hoping that the Cameroonian international can maintain the same level for the rest of the season.

Since re-joining the Club for a second year on loan, Song has struggled to reach the heady heights of last season as injuries have hampered his fitness.

However, Song looked as hungry as ever against title chasers Manchester City, snapping into tackles while demonstrating his impressive range of passing.

When asked about the midfielder, the manager responded enthusiastically: “Song had a great game; we need him to play like that week in, week out. He is a very important player.

“He has already had some good games, at Old Trafford he was really good. He is coming back from a long injury and it is hard, so it has taken some time. But he has all the qualities in every area, he is a big player for us. I am a big Song fan.”

Another positive for the West Ham manager to take into his preparations for the  FA Cup tie away at Liverpool this weekend is the sense of disappointment at only drawing with the Citizens.

Despite taking four points from Manuel Pellegrini’s world class side, Bilic and his players were left disappointed at not being able to make it a historic double.

The manager continued to explain why he thought this was a good reaction: “My staff and the players are disappointed, but that is a good thing because it shows the level we are at, the level our expectations are.

“I am more proud than disappointed, we were fantastic. We had some great individual performances but they were only the cherry on the pie and the pie was the team performance. I am very proud of the guys.

“This league is impossible to predict, especially this season, every team is good enough to beat anyone. I don’t know where we are going to end up, but if we play like this every week we’ll be in a good way.”

From the Boardroom – David Sullivan – West Ham Official Site

The Joint-Chairman shares his thoughts on the Manchester City game, Saturday’s FA Cup trip to Liverpool and the latest transfer news…

Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City was a fantastic game and everyone gave their all.  You can see some of the players were totally exhausted at the end. You thought we might go on to nick it but it wasn’t to be as Kouyate’s header clipped the crossbar.

Whether their first goal was a penalty or not I don’t know. With Payet’s free-kick I think there are only three goalkeepers in the Premier League who would’ve saved that and unfortunately we got one of them.

It is also worth remembering that we were missing three key players in Lanzini, Carroll and Sakho.

I thought Sam Byram, who wasn’t expected to play, did very well on his debut. He had cramp at the end as he’d missed a few days of training. It’s a big jump and he’s got to adapt but I think he did well.

On the other side they hit the post twice so realistically it was probably a fair result.

I thought the crowd were phenomenal and really got behind the team.

Let’s not forget how good Manchester City are and the quality they have. They were bringing £50m players off from the bench. They had a strong team out and their main striker is back to form and if he wasn’t playing I think we would’ve won.

It’s a strange feeling when you’re coming away feeling disappointed that you’ve only drawn. It was a phenomenal game and it shows just how far we’ve come.

As a Board we’re very proud of the team.

I was also proud to welcome one of the world’s great sportsmen to the Boleyn Ground on Saturday – Gennady Golovkin. I am a big boxing fan and Gennady is a World Middleweight champion, has won 34 of his fights and is rated as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world.

I hope Saturday’s performance can give us even more confidence going into Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup fourth round tie at Anfield. I have said before we have nothing to fear as we have shown repeatedly this season that on our day we are a match for anyone.

If we do get through I would love a home draw as we are now undefeated at the Boleyn Ground since August. Let’s hope we can maintain that run for as long as possible.

Another reason for hope is that we always seem to perform well when the game is on TV.

I do still hope Liverpool play a weakened team as they’ve got a busy run of fixtures coming up. That’s not to say that I don’t think we can beat their first team but it is a big asking winning at Anfield twice in a season.

Finally, just to update you all on transfers, we may look to bring another forward in. We’re working on a very complicated deal at the moment, which may or may not come off, so we will have to see how that progresses.

We have always said we didn’t plan to do any business in this window so if nothing more materialises we will be more than happy with our squad.

Antonio – We have the belief to beat anyone – West Ham Official Site

West Ham United winger Michail Antonio admits his side have the belief to beat any team in the country and was disappointed they could only take a point from the Manchester City game.

Having recorded a memorable double over Liverpool and securing big wins over Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City, the Hammers winger says they were confident of coming away with another famous victory.

The signs looked even better after Enner Valencia had fired the Hammers back into the lead at the start of the second half and Antonio was confident they would go on and secure all three points.

But Sergio Aguero stole the headlines once again with a late equaliser and the players had to settle for a draw.

With the club still in the top six and a big Emirates FA Cup tie against Liverpool on Saturday, Antonio says they are confident of enjoying a successful end to the campaign.

Antonio said: “We are definitely heading in the right direction. It says a lot when we are disappointed to have only come away with a point against Manchester City.

“We have got that belief that we can beat the top teams. We are just taking it game by game and trying to play well in every game that we play to help us come away with the three points.

“We are quite disappointed that we could not come away with three points as we had enough opportunities to win the game.

“They didn’t have many chances and obviously had a penalty for the first goal and a scrappy for the second, so we feel it is two points dropped.

“It was one of those days where it started a bit hectic. We scored an early goal and then they scored a penalty.

“The game evened out a bit and then we managed to get a second. I thought we were going to hold out and then they got a ricochet goal which is disappointing but we have to move on.”

Dobson relishing quarter-final cup clash – West Ham Official Site

Ahead of the Development Squad’s quarter-final with Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday 27th January, midfielder George Dobson described how much he and his teammates would love to continue their cup run.

The former Arsenal man, an avid Hammers’ fan, has been an ever-present in Terry Westley’s side recently, playing in both the 4-0 win over Exeter City in the first round and the3-2 triumph over Fulham.

Looking ahead to the cup clash with the Rovers at Rush Green, Dobson said: “Everyone would love to continue our run in the cup, cup football is great. We’re in the quarter-final, just two games from the final.

“You never know, we could well win the competition. To be able to say ‘We’re the best’ out of all the other great teams left in the tournament would be a great feat.

“We’re all working hard and looking ahead to Wednesday.”

Earlier the in the season, the young Hammers were edged out in a seven goal thriller at Ewood Park.

Despite having led three times, the hosts remained steadfast and turned the tables with a late Conor Mahoney brace.

However, since then, the Dev Squad have been in superb form and after their latest victory, a 3-1 away win at Fulham, are now nine games unbeaten.

Dobson continued: “What can I say? The boys have been outstanding recently, we’re playing good stuff. We keep going behind in games but showing great character to come back.

“We’re buzzing to be fair, when you’re winning it’s always easier to keep up the winning streak, confidence is high and everyone raises their game. Even when we go 1-0 down, none of us think we’ll lose.”

Since swapping north London for east, the versatile midfielder has forged a strong understanding with his central midfield colleagues Josh Cullen, Marcus Browne and Moses Makasi.

Having impressed during his 13 appearances for the U21s, he explained: “I think we have a really good balance, Josh plays slightly higher in the No10 role at times, but we all rotate and pick up the ball in different areas, our interchange football at times is really good.

“I still feel like I can improve a lot. I think I’m getting a lot more consistent. Having said that, I think I can get a lot better with hard work in training. If I keep listening to my coaches, I don’t see why I can’t keep on improving my game.”

U18s secure Saints success – West Ham Official Site

A last-minute winner from Jahmal Hector-Ingram saw West Ham United score a fine 2-1 Barclays U18 Premier League Southern Division victory over Southampton on Saturday.

The Hammers had fallen behind before half-time, but produced a superb second-half comeback to make it back-to-back victories following a win at Reading the previous weekend.

Southampton started the better of the two sides at Little Heath and Latvian goalkeeper Rihards Matrevics had already saved from Yan Valery before Ollie Cook scored nine minutes before half-time.

West Ham hit back after the break and levelled on the hour-mark when impressive winger Dan Kemp switched flanks to good effect and hit a shot which took a wicked deflection to loop over Jake Hallett and level the scores.

The hosts applied plenty of pressure after their equaliser, though the Saints seemed to stem the tide and even created chances of their own, with Thomas O’Connor striking an effort narrowly wide.

With time running out, a long ball forward was seized upon by England youth international Hector-Ingram, who got free of the last defender before slotting the ball in under Hallett for the match-winner.

While Southampton slipped to a seventh consecutive defeat and remain second-bottom, West Ham’s second straight win lifted them to fifth in the table.

U18s: Matrevics, Eggleton (Madden 74), Borg, Carter (c), Akinola, Rice, Kanu, Lewis (Coventry 46), Hector-Ingram, Ford (Diangana 55), Kemp

Subs not used: Jake Leonard, Ben Johnson

West Ham, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa make contact with Ligue 1 striker – The Guardian

Wissam Ben Yedder has reportedly been approached by West Ham, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa.

The Toulouse striker has been in terrific form in Ligue 1 this season and attracted the attention of all three Premier League clubs, according to The Guardian.

And the appeal of moving to England’s top flight is something that interests Ben Yedder too.

However, the goalscorer is determined to see out the current campaign before departing for a new destination in order to achieve survival with 19th-placed Toulouse.

Despite the French club’s poor form, Ben Yedder has been an inspiration, chipping in with a solid 13 goals in 24 matches in all competitions.

Come the summer though, the 25-year-old is apparently going to make a decision on which side he will join.

This may come as worrying news to Villa, as relegation is a real possibility this season and they would require Ben Yedder’s services as soon as possible.

Championship football won’t be enough for a proven scorer in one of Europe’s top five leagues, so Palace and the Hammers are seemingly at an advantage.

Ben Yedder’s contract with Toulouse expires in 2017, but having spent more than five years at the Ligue 1 club, the former France U21 international is approaching the end of that spell.

The forward reportedly has European ambitions too, so the second half of West Ham and Crystal Palace’s seasons could determine who he heads for.

Yilmaz on but Emenike deal stalls – KUMB

Slaven Bilic has admitted that the move to sign Emmanuel Emenike is in the balance – but insists he has other irons in the fire ahead of next week’s transfer deadline.

Bilic, speaking to Turkish sports outlet Fanatik confirmed that the move to sign the Fenerbahce striker was far from complete.

“There is no clear agreement about Emenike,” he said. “He is an important player but Fenerbahçe may need another striker first, so it’s by no means certain that they will release him.”

However there was somewhat better news with regards to fellow forward Burak Yilmaz, who KUMB revealed last week was being monitored by West Ham.

“Yilmaz is a very good footballer,” added Bilic. “He’s an excellent striker and among the fittest of players. I know him very well and I admit that he is one of the names in our list.

“But he is not the only player on our list. If we decide to take one striker, then we can take action.”

Yilmaz, who has been linked with a €10million move to east London was spotted waving to Gala fans at the end of their 3-2 defeat at Osmanlispor on Saturday – a clear indication that he is set to leave the club, according to some Turkish supporters.

West Ham and Liverpool officials on €30m transfer mission for forward target – O Jogo

West Ham United and Liverpool sent scouts to the game between Pacos de Ferreira and Sporting Lisbon at the weekend. The two Premier League sides have been frequent visitors to Portugal this season, and have been seen at Sporting Lisbon games already in this campaign.

O Jogo have confirmed West Ham and Liverpool officials were on the scouting list to see Sporting Lisbon win 3-1, and they were joined by a host to other clubs from across Europe. It’s been claimed by another Portuguese newspaper, A Bola, that the purpose of the trip on Saturday was to watch Sporting Lisbon forward Islam Slimani.

The Algeria international has been linked with a move to the Premier League in the past, and especially with West Ham. Slimani has been a long term target of the East London side, and they’ve been interested in the player since his performances for Algeria during the 2014 World Cup.

Earlier in the month we covered reports that Sporting Lisbon will only sell Slimani for a figure close to his €30m buyout clause. Due to the interest from Premier League clubs, the leaders of Sporting Lisbon plan to sit down with the Algerian’s representatives to discuss increasing his salary. However, they will realise they can’t compete with Premier League sides on wages, and talks could be difficult.

The chase for MIchy is on – Daily Mail

Manchester United, Liverpool, West Ham and Aston Villa were all represented at Sunday night’s 1-1 draw between Lyon and Marseille.

The main focus remains on Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi. As Sportsmail reported earlier this month, the Belgian is being considered by West ham for the summer but they face competition and Marseille want £25million. His teammate, winger Georges Kevin N’koudou has also come under scrutiny as have full-backs Brice Dja Dejedje and Bernard Mendy.

Though Batshuayi and N’Koudou are highly-rated by Marseille, the concern among Premier League scouts is whether they would withstand the physical element of playing in England.

West Ham have expressed an interest in Galatasaray striker Burak Yilmaz, 30, also for January. Manager Slaven Bilic wants a striker to replace Mauro Zarate who joined Fiorentina last week while there is interest from China in Nikica Jelavic. West Ham have lined up Nigeria international Emmanuel Emenike for a loan move from Fenerbahce and he remains their preferred choice.

West Ham’s Winston returns for a ‘ding dong’ clash with Manchester City – London 24

West Ham defender Winston Reid had battled with Sergio Aguero for 90 minutes on Saturday evening, seen him score two goals as the Hammers were pegged back twice, but surprisingly it was not the little Argentinian striker that had really troubled him most. “I think he is dangerous from the point of view that when he gets the ball in your half, you need to be tight to him, but for me it was more the second wave that comes at you from midfield,” explained the 27-year-old, who has played over 150 games in claret and blue. “You have to watch where the runs are coming from and with the second goal, it is trying to get the blocks in. Aaron (Cresswell) tried to get a block in and it went straight to Aguero and sometimes that is the luck of the draw.” It certainly is, but despite that late equaliser, Reid thought that it was an excellent game and a good performance. Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero scores his side’s second goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London. “It was a bit of a ding dong game and they are a tough team to play against,” he said. “We had other chances too and it showed what a class keeper Joe Hart is that he saved Dimi’s (Payet’s) free kick. It was right in the top corner. “At the end we had a chance with Cheikhou Kouyate, but it wasn’t to be. It was a good performance and we needed to bounce back from the disappointment against Newcastle. “It was a great game for the fans and it shows how far we have come as a team to be disappointed in not winning against a team like Man City.” He is absolutely right and it shows just how good team spirit is in the camp, that someone with the quality of Reid can be left out for a couple of games and not be banging on the manager’s door demanding to be reinstated. Winston Reid for west Ham v Manchester City “I haven’t been frustrated, no,” insisted Reid. “I spoke to the manager and he told me how the situation was. The defence has been doing really well since I have been out and I said to him that it is not a problem, when I am needed he can call upon me to play. “Everyone wants to play of course, but I know the situation. I trained hard and it gave me a couple of extra weeks to get my fitness back up.” It was Angelo Ogbonna who was the unlucky one who dropped out for this game, but now Reid is back in the starting line-up, it will be difficult to remove him. “It has been a little while since I played against Wolves, but I felt ok after the City game,” he said. “It did help me that I trained fully for a couple of weeks, but I know I can get better and will do over the coming games.” Few would doubt that and with Ogbonna, James Collins and James Tomkins all vying for two places, it seems that West Ham have never had it so good for central defenders.

West Ham striker target confirms future to be decided ‘within two days – London 24

Galatasaray striker Burak Yilmaz has confirmed his future will be decided by Wednesday. 1 The impressive Turkish front man has been heavily linked with a move to West Ham this month, as the Hammers search for a proven goalscorer. Having already notched ten goals this season, the 30-year-old is now looking at the chance to join friend Slaven Bilic at West Ham. A reported £7.5million bid has been launched, despite West Ham claiming their deals this month will be limited by Financial Fair Play. Having already snapped up Sam Byram from Leeds United, David Sullivan appears keen to get on with things despite a possible fine for overstepping their wage boundaries. Yilmaz said after Saturday’s 3-2 defeat against Osmanlispor that he will soon reveal news. “My future will become clear within the next 1-2 days,” he told Turkish-football. West Ham currently have Enner Valencia leading the line, who has four goals in three games, however injuries to Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho means options are limited.

 Slaven Bilic raves about West Ham United’s Enner Valencia – West Ham Official Site

Slaven Bilic has told West Ham United’s official site that Enner Valencia has ‘sky high’ quality, after the striker scored twice against Manchester City.

Valencia was a constant threat as the Hammers picked up a 2-2 draw with Manuel Pellegrini’s side at the weekend, and he showed great finishing ability on both his goals.

Valencia now has four goals in his last two matches and he appears to be fully match sharp, after returning from injury.

“We didn’t talk about Enner since the beginning of the season, only because he got injured before the start of the season,” Bilic said.

“His quality has always been sky-high and not only goals, everything. His contribution, he’s great in the air, he’s got a great touch and he’s torturing the defences that have to play against him.

“He deserved this kind of performance.”

Valencia’s goalscoring form only goes to help the Hammers look even more threatening.

With Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho out with injury, Bilic has needed a front man to step up, and Valencia has done so.

The Ecuadorian international has thrived with the service he has been given, and he will want to keep up his run of scoring form.

West Ham’s draw with City has left them in sixth place in the Premier League table, with their next league match coming against Aston Villa.

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